Week-ending 10 July 2020
On Wednesday, 7 July, Ivan Safronov, a former journalist currently working as an adviser to the head of the space agency Roskosmos, was arrested and remanded in custody by a court until 6 September on charges of high treason. Meduza reported that according to the FSB, Safronov ‘allegedly collaborated with an intelligence agency in a NATO member state to collect and transmit classified information about Russian military-technical cooperation and national defense and security.’ Safronov’s lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, said prosecutors had accused his client of passing information to the Czech Republic in 2017 about the sale of Russian arms to the Middle East and Africa, charges which Safronov denies. Pavlov drew parallels with the Yeltsin era case of Grigory Pasko. Safronov’s lawyers have appealed against the decision to remand Safronov in custody.
Another Journalist Arrested in Russia
Just this week, we celebrated that a journalist in Russia would not be going to prison, despite a guilty verdict against her on bogus charges. But today, news broke that the Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested veteran journalist Ivan Safronov on treason charges. In an apparently related development, the FSB also raided the home of Safronov’s friend, journalist Taisiya Bekbulatova, who is being interrogated as a case witness. This is a dangerous development. If convicted, Safronov could face a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
Human Rights Watch, 7 July 2020
Russia Accuses Former Military Reporter Of Supplying Arms-Trade Data To Czech Republic
Russia has arrested a former journalist on a charge of high treason for allegedly passing military secrets to a NATO government in what some are calling a clear attack on press freedom. Ivan Safronov, who since May has been working as an adviser to the chief of Russia’s state space agency Roskosmos, was detained and searched by armed officers of the FSB outside his Moscow apartment on July 7 before being taken to court, where he entered a plea of not guilty. The court ordered him held behind bars until September 6. Prosecutors accuse him of passing information to the Czech Republic in 2017 about the sale of Russian arms to the Middle East and Africa, his lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, said. Safronov was working as a journalist at the time covering issues related to the activities of Russia’s military industrial sector. Russia claims the United States was the final beneficiary of the information, Pavlov said. Safronov could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
RFE/RL, 8 July 2020
Russian journalist charged with treason is arraigned in court
Investigative journalist and communications adviser to the head of the Russian space corporation “Roscosmos,” Ivan Safronov, was arraigned in court on treason charges during the afternoon of July 7. According to a statement from Russia’s Federal Security Service, Safronov allegedly collaborated with an intelligence agency in a NATO member state to collect and transmit classified information about Russian military-technical cooperation and national defense and security. At the entrance to the court, Safronov declared himself not guilty
Meduza, 7 July 2020